Today’s Reading - Matthew 6:1-15
1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So when you give to the needy. .” - Matthew 6:1-2
It is really difficult to serve others without others knowing about it which makes understanding this verse a little more difficult. The principle of the verse is more important than the specifics and I believe this is true based on Jesus referencing rewards in heaven. We can only be certain of one reward in heaven and that is to be there. We can read the totality of scripture and understand there may be further rewards but there is lots of uncertainty about that thought. I believe what this verse is warning us against is to let our acts of righteousness become our pathway to righteousness which is commonly known as works righteousness, or trying to do enough right things, like giving to the needy, to earn salvation. But, we know salvation comes to us as a gracious gift from God, not earned or deserved. Jesus is saying that if we depend on acts to be “seen” and I think that is a symbolic word, then we will be lured into believing our acts lead to salvation. Serving others is vital in our maturity in Christ and is vital in connecting many unchurched people to the right situation where grace floods their heart. Giving to the needy as well as hundreds of other acts of righteousness are important in many ways, but we cannot be falsely lured into the belief that these acts lead to a reward in heaven. You will be energized into service at a much deeper level when you come to a place where you see your work in Christ flows out of your salvation experience and not vice-versa. Yes, as followers of Christ we are all called to acts of righteousness because we are followers. So do them.
As part of our reading today, we pray the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Personal Prayer Focus - Fullness of the Holy Spirit